Aside from the childhood landmarks –the penguins at the Biodome, my grandmother’s kitchen, the mountain, a family favourite souvlaki joint– I’ve realized that I don’t know Montreal all that well. It’s still a familiar place; most of our extended family and many friends call la belle province home, but despite years of visiting I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of the city.
With my twin and his boyfriend as our local guides, we had a jam-packed 40 hours exploring in the city. Le Plateau. Mile End. Le Vieux Port. There were some places of nostalgia, but mostly lots of new-to-me spots. We café crawled, bar hopped, and karaoked our hearts out. Here are some favourites from our most recent visit…
To go down the rabbit hole: Bethlehem XXX. You’ll find an interesting menu and even more “interesting” décor. While I don’t think it’s for everyone, we all enjoyed our (relatively cheap!) food, and would definitely go back.
Not a hotel: Hôtel Herman. Chic space, friendly service, and memorable dishes that from affordable to splurge-level. We only snacked, but didn’t leave hungry. Intrigued by their wine list, we sampled several by the glass, but we have since heard that it’s their cocktails that are a must. Only one way to find out…
For natural wines: Le Comptoir. Nine of us squeezed in to the only corner of the bar left when we arrived. After splitting a couple bottles of wine, no one really minded the extra-cozy space. We eventually snagged the biggest table in the place, and enjoyed a good mix of their “French/Italian tapas”. I’m still thinking about a dessert that combined chocolate ganache and a black olive purée.
Bière me: Dieu du Ciel. With everything from a Rosé d’hibiscus, to heavy-hitting imperial stouts on taps, there’s a beer here for everyone. It might have something to do with the name, but my personal favourite from this trip was “Disco Soleil”, a kumquat IPA.
Traditioooon: St-Viateur Bagel. Bring a Montreal classic home with you (or a dozen).
Get caféiné…Hip and crafty: Arts Café.
Get there early for brunch! Everything was tasty from the shakshuka to the granola.Russian Beignets: Chez Boris.
Donuts, coffee, tea, and kitsch. Style and substance: Café Myriade.
In a pretty Club Monaco on St-Catherine Street there’s an even prettier café. It includes a cute book selection and local goods to boot.New charm in the Old Port: Tommy Café.
With bright decor and even higher ceilings, Tommy is an inviting breath of fresh air/caffeine.